The Ruby Programming Language Paperback – Feb 4 2008
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About the Author
Yukihiro Matsumoto ("Matz"), the creator of Ruby, is a professional programmer who worked for the Japanese open source company, netlab.jp. Matz is also known as one of the open source evangelists in Japan. He's released several open source products, including cmail, the emacs-based mail user agent, written entirely in emacs lisp. Ruby is his first piece of software that has become known outside of Japan.
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Top Customer Reviews
I worked with Ruby and Ruby on Rails for over a year and several years of other programming languages, but I never really delved into the Ruby language itself. I was just picking up different tricks here and there along the way. I was able to get stuff done, but I felt like I was missing the big picture. This book was perfect for my need in building my Ruby understanding ground-up.
This is not a beginner's book on programming. This book might not even be the best book to begin programming in Ruby. This position is clarified by Matz and Flanagan early on in the book.
"It is easy to program in Ruby, but Ruby is not a simple language. Because this book documents Ruby comprehensively, it is not a simple book (though we hope that you find it easy to read and understand). It is intended for experienced programmers who want to master Ruby and are willing to read carefully and thoughtfully to achieve that goal."
The book assumes intermediate knowledge in programming and object oriented programming in general. In order to fully appreciate the book, it's best if you are already an experience programmer.
If you are a beginner looking to get started, do not buy this book.
I'd recommend giving this book a read even if you've written full Rails apps in the past. There's lots of useful information in this book.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Blocks of code put in to give tutorials... Similar to W3schools' style, but without understanding how to compile, choose a path, download proper software without getting a virus, and understanding all the terms, a person it's pretty much blindly entering data without the copy and paste feature.
Note: the guy who invented ruby wrote this book. It is based around the C language. I'm not saying he doesn't know what he is talking about, but I'm saying this:
From reading the first chapter, I'm left trying to find all the definitions on line and thinking JAVA and C++ will be easier to learn- even if ruby doesn't have as much syntax to worry about.
In summary- those 50 some odd people who rated this book 5 stars must already be at a software engineer/jr developer level. I'm not quite there.
After finishing reading this book I can say that there are a lot of topics that I really don't remember anymore and lots of doubts that I still have. The major flaw here is that there are no exercises anywhere in the book. All the best programming books I read in the past have very good exercises to evaluate what you've learned (I could give as examples Learning Perl, C++ Programming Language, Core Java, etc). I think that without exercising what you learned it's really hard to judge how much you have really learned.
Another thing which is not described in the book is how to organize a big project. I'm used to working in large projects in C and C++ and I really have no idea of how to organize a large project in Ruby, how to organize classes in files, etc. I will start studying Rails now, and will get the Rails code and read it to make sense of how to organize a large project but be aware that this is not described here.
Also some sections of the book, are really "dry", like the one who talks about functional programming which is really hard to follow (this one is the first that came to my mind but there are a lot of sections which are hard to follow or don't make a lot of sense when reading first time). These sections are clearly targeted at advanced Ruby programmers.
I'll rate this book with 4 stars because despite the flaws I mentioned, the explanation of the language in general is really good.
Unlike the Pickaxe, which tries to be everything from an OOP introduction to a complete library reference, this book focuses on concisely documenting the Ruby language. If you're looking to learn how to program, look elsewhere - the Pickaxe is a much better choice. On the other hand, if you're already familiar with OOP concepts, this book (along with [...]) is all you really need to understand the language.
Of note, the book is also very current, covering both Ruby 1.8 and 1.9. As such things go, this is about as future-proof as it gets - it will remain current for years.
I can't really stress enough how well-written this book is. The authors don't overwhelm you with jargon, nor do they bury important details between fluff and analogies - I find it to be the perfect balance of density and legibility. Seldom do I find technical references such a joy to read.
In short, if you work with Ruby (or plan to in the future), you really should buy this book. You won't regret it.
First, it is fairly compact and doesn't waste space (and your time) explaining to you what is a byte or a register, like some 800 page "volumes about everything" do. It correctly assumes that the reader is a programmer and explains the language, not the programming.
Second, it covers Ruby in depth. Read this book and you'll easily understand the most craziest Ruby code examples that could be found inside of Rails and other popular libraries. Moreover, I've found a few tricks in the book that I don't believe I saw in the wild.
And finally, author's language is very clean, free of buzzwords and needless repetitions. As always with O'Reilly books, this one is also very neatly structured and makes an excellent reference book.
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